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How To Play Pistol Whip: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know

Welcome to Pistol Whip, the VR Physical Action-Rhythm Game that took Quest by storm in 2019, and hasn’t let up since!

Whether you’re brand new to VR, or are a Pistol Whip vet getting back into the swing of things, we’re here with some helpful hints and tricks to get your Action Hero journey started (or restarted) on the right foot. If you have any questions or would like to report a bug, you can always find us at!

Ways To Play

Whether you prefer a focused challenge, or just want to groove your way through the Scene list at your own pace, Pistol Whip has a bunch of play modes to match your mood.

Arcade Mode

Jump instantly into the Scene of your choice and aim for the high score!


From the sci fi Robopocalypse of 2089 to the wild wild west shootouts of Smoke & Thunder, Campaigns are collections of Scenes connected by an unfolding story, tenacious protagonists, and voice-acted cutscenes.

Party Mode

Perfect for play with friends, Party Mode allows for local co-op so you can pass your headset around the room and battle for the top of the leaderboards.

Contracts & Ultimatums

These are limited time challenges that combine specific Scenes with unique Styles, refreshing daily, weekly, and monthly.

Locked Content

Noticing that some Scenes or Modes seem to be greyed out, or otherwise unselectable? These need to be unlocked for all new accounts! To unlock them, simply play through ten Scenes in Arcade Mode, and the full game will become available to play.

The only exception are Campaign Scenes. The individual Scenes for each Campaign will only become playable in Arcade Mode after you complete them in Campaign Mode, first.

Customizing Your Loadout with the Styles System

Once you’re in the Pistol Whip Lobby, turn to your left to access a huge array of options to customize your weapon and play style.

Weapon Type

There are more than just pistols in Pistol Whip! Each weapon type has a twist, and can be mixed and matched with other modes and modifiers for a total custom experience.




Brawler (aka Melee!)

Drum Gun

Additional Modes

The Styles window is also where you can set additional modes for your gameplay, such as Dual Wielding, Rhythmic (where every shot must sync up with the beat of the song) or No Beat (where shooting off-beat won’t result in lower points.)

Gun Models, Wraps & Colours

Once you’ve selected your Weapon Type, you can also customize its model, as well as its SFX, and the colour and pattern of its wrap.


This is where you can really get into the core mechanics of the game and mix things up to your heart’s content!

Diving Into The Action

Now that you’ve got your kit in order, it's time to pick a Scene and jump into the fray.

Shooting & Reloading

Pistol Whip is an action rhythm game, so loosen those shoulders, take aim, and let the heartbeat of the music flow through your shots! Once you’re grooving through a Scene, keep an eye on the pulsing white flash effect that ripples through the game world; this will help you keep pace with the song and time your shots perfectly!

Shooting on-beat will increase your score—unless you have No Beat selected in the Styles System, which means that the beat no longer influences the points accrued for each shot taken.

Aim assist is turned on by default. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, you can toggle aim assist off by selecting the Deadeye modifier.

Click click click. If you hear that sound, it means your gun is empty, and you need to reload. Aim your gun(s) at the floor to reload and get back into the action!

Dodging Bullets & Obstacles

You may have found your rhythm, but Pistol Whip’s many enemies are ready to knock you right back out of it. Try to take out enemies before they get their own shot off, and be ready to dodge their volleys in return. (Watch out for bright red Threat Indicators; these tell you that an enemy is firing at you from outside your range of vision—get ready to dodge!)

And when they get too close for comfort? That’s when it's time for a well-aimed pistol whip to clear your path to victory.

Meanwhile, Obstacles might not be firing bullets your way, but they can still destroy your Armour (or end your Scene!) if you fail to dodge them in time. We hope you didn’t skip leg day!

Armour & Taking Damage

Not every hazard can be avoided. When you take a hit from a bullet or an Obstacle, you’ll lose your Armour. You’ll have to be very careful here, because the next hit will result in a game over.

But all is not lost: you can recover your Armour by avoiding damage and taking out enemies. No sweat!


For those with a competitive streak, allow us to introduce you to Pistol Whip’s scoring system! Points are awarded for successful shots, melee attacks, and for shots that are highly accurate, or extremely close to the beat of the Scene’s music. Once you’ve successfully completed a Scene, you’ll be greeted with your total score and rank. Woo!

You can check out your results any time by heading to the Lobby and turning to the right: here, you can access leaderboards for every combination of Scene, weapon, and modifier loadout imaginable. There are also settings that allow you to view leaderboards from across the globe, just among your friends, and more.

Making Pistol Whip Easier To Play

If you’re brand new to the game, looking for a more accessible experience, or sharing Pistol Whip with the younger members of your family, there are plenty of ways for Pistol Whip to meet them halfway.

Scene Difficulty

Whenever you select a Scene to play, you can alter the difficulty right there in the selection screen. But that’s not all you can do to increase or decrease the challenge!


Some Modifiers are especially useful for reducing the game’s difficulty. We’d especially recommend Bottomless (which removes the need to reload), Unobstructed (which removes all Obstacles), Threatless (enemies don’t shoot) and Bulletproof (invincibility mode!)

Playing Custom Scenes, AKA Remixes

One of our most exciting additions to Pistol Whip in 2023 was Pistol Mix, our official modding tool for creating and sharing custom Scenes made by players like you!

If you play Pistol Whip on a Quest 2 or 3, a Rift or Rift S, or via Steam, you can browse and download these Scenes, also called Remixes, by following the instructions below.

  1. Ensure your headset and Pistol Whip are both up to date.

  2. Launch Pistol Whip.

  3. Shoot the Remixes Tab, now available in your lobby.

  4. Shoot the “I Agree” button.

  5. Shoot on the Scene/Remix you wish to play.

  6. Shoot the “Subscribe” button - this will download the Remix to your headset.

  7. Once fully downloaded, you can play the Remix!

If you’ve got some ideas brewing for your own custom Pistol Whip Scene, you can learn more about modding using the Pistol Mix tool over on our official page:

Thank you for playing Pistol Whip! There’s plenty more in the game to learn and master, but we’ll leave you to discover that in your own time. We hope you love the game as much as we’ve loved supporting it over the years: if you do, we’d love to hear from you in our Discord, on our socials, or even in a review, if you’re feeling extra generous.

Happy New Year, Action Heroes! We’ll see you in 2024 with even more Pistol Whip goodness, so be sure to stay tuned!


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